Registered company

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The term 'company' is widely used in an informal sense, to mean a group of people carrying on business together. However, a company only becomes a corporation (see: Corporation) -- acquiring an independent legal identity -- if it is registered under the terms of the Companies Acts (1985, 1989). To comply with this Act, the company submits its memorandum (see: Memorandum of association) and articles (see: Articles of association) to the Registrar of Companies. If they are satisfactory the Registrar issues a 'Certificate of Incorparation'. This is the company's proof that it has corporation status.

Once a company has been incorporated, it takes on a separate identity from its members, and then continues to exist until it is 'wound up' (see: Winding up) or struck off (see: Striking off acompany).

A registered company can be limited (see: Limited company) or unlimited (see: Unlimited company) with respect to the member's liabilities for the company's debts. If it has a share capital, a limited company can be 'public' or 'private'. There are also some companies left that are limited by guarantee, rather than shares, although this designation is now defunct (see: Limited by guarantee).

So, in practice the metas of registered company that now exist can be summarized thus: public or private limited by shares (see: Limited by shares), public limited by guarantee (see: Limited by guarantee), private unlimited (see: Unlimited company).